AFL Round 1 – Gold Coast v North Melbourne: Wet Season

Picture this. You train for over five months. During the summer every sprint, every run-through, every burpee is registered on your personal GPS tracker and then downloaded, measured, and analysed within an inch of its life by a team of coaches and medical experts. You are one of a group of about forty-five elite athletes, who are trained like thoroughbreds, and compensated handsomely to provide entertainment and enjoyment for the masses.


The entire pre-season is mapped out to within the minute. The schedule is rigidly adhered to, with minor changes made probably only the case of rain. You are too valuable an athlete to be risked on a slippery surface, in tricky conditions. Your coaches cannot control the weather – but they can work around it. Another thing the coaches cannot hope to control is the head-office department which puts together what some would loosely call “the AFL fixture”.


Every season, all AFL clubs submit a “wish list” for the ensuing year’s fixture. For example, all clubs want a dozen Friday night games; all clubs want more games at the MCG (even Essendon, which is recompensed handsomely for its “anchor” tenant status at Etihad!); every club secretly would like to play at the G on Anzac Day, but the same two clubs are only ever fixtured to play in this match. And to be fair, establishing the fixture/schedule/draw/twister would be akin to herding cats. Even though the fixturing department has months upon months in which to compile it.


In view of this, I pose the question: whose idea was it to fixture a game in Cairns, in Far North Queensland, in the wet season? I understand that the Suns’ ground is unavailable due to the Commonwealth Games, but really? Of all the idiotic scheduling decisions the AFL has made, this is right up there with the worst of them. And of course, there has been nary a bleat from the competing teams. Could you imagine Jeff Kennett’s response had Hawthorn been the visiting team?


Months of planning and strategizing went out the window when the teams were presented with a playing surface which lay hidden beneath centremetres of water. Twitter feeds breathlessly reported that Steve Hocking was contemplating “postponing” the match. But let’s face it, and despite acknowledgements made to “player safety”, the AFL would not postpone a game if Krakatoa was erupting in the background.


And it seems the football public of Cairns agreed, as the AFL was rewarded with the second lowest crowd recorded in the AFL era.


GOLD COAST              0.2   5.6   5.8   7.13 (55)
NORTH MELBOURNE  1.2   1.6   5.7   5.9 (39)


Gold Coast: Ainsworth 2, Sexton, Bowes, Lyons, Young, MacPherson
North Melbourne: Ziebell 2, Anderson, Dumont, Higgins


Gold Coast: Bowes, Young, Miller, Martin, Harbrow, Ainsworth
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Macmillan, Thompson, Clarke, Simpkin.


Umpires: Brown, Findlay, Ryan

Official crowd: 3722 at Cazalys Stadium


About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Jeez Smokie. The AFL really hate North don’t they? No coincidence.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Agreed Smokie, ridiculous scheduling.
    Maybe the AFL is looking to get out of Cairns?

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